Finding My Rhythm
Wow. It’s only been four months since I left Jamaica but it feels like much longer now that I’m back and trying to find my daily rhythm again. In the past, I’ve had my daughter or my landlord/housemate here when I come down. There has always been someone to check in with and someone else to take into consideration as I plan my days out. It’s kind of odd to be the only one in the house, able to make my day into whatever I want it to be. In fact, it’s really the first time in the 36 years since I had my first child that I’ve honestly only answered to myself. And I like it.
Take today, for example. I just didn’t really feel like doing much of anything and so I didn’t. What a novel idea. There weren’t any kids to rush out the door to school, no volleyball games to attend, no husband coming home for dinner…no pressing events at all! My only real “responsibility” was getting out of bed to feed the dogs.
Even then, I’ll admit that I lingered between the sheets a bit later than usual, getting up only because the dogs were literally sitting under my bedroom window, calling to me. Yes, they are that smart. They’ve even learned to drag their metal bowls onto the concrete below my window, rattling them back and forth, like prisoners with metal cups on the jail cell gates. Unbelievable.
No, I don’t do that every day. Not by a long shot. In fact, most of the ten mornings since this stay began have been early rises, trying to get the hardest work done before the heat really set in. It seems there is always something to repair, repaint or redo around the house.
One of the biggest challenges for me, personally, is to simply slow down, sit down and enjoy the day. Although I feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace here compared to my normal warp speed at home, everyone keeps telling me I work too hard. Is that really true or do they not work enough? I’m still pondering that one.
I made a deal with myself to only attempt one project per day. I started with painting the walls of two verandas…totally necessary because I think the dogs spent my four month absence rubbing red mud all over my turquoise walls just to get back at me for leaving them. That led to repainting the ballasts, which led to repainting the handrails, etc, etc. What started out as a quick 15-20 minute job ended up taking a few hours and several gallons of sweat. But, I have to say, it looks really nice!
Another morning, as I was putting away new kitchen items I’d brought with me, I decided to rearrange EVERYTHING in our kitchen. What a chore that was! I determined that it made more sense to set up the cabinet space in a way that allowed us to keep our items separated according to who they belong to. As it worked out, most of my items are much handier now because my spices, mixer attachments, etc are all right above the counter my mixer sits on and where I do most of my baking. I was amazed, however, at how much I’ve already accumulated down here.
One very rainy day was spent putting new protective plastic over the cloth covered seats of the settee and chairs that belong on the veranda…yes, the dogs got to those, too. Seems those little bits of plastic flapping in the wind needed to be attacked and killed. Sigh. Tell me again why I got two puppies at the same time? It seemed like such a quick fix until I discovered that whatever wood I was stapling into was basically like stapling concrete. It was exhausting, but at least they look beautiful again.
Add in laundry, taking care of the yard, replacing old screens, along with those long days riding the taxi’s into town for supplies, and you’d be amazed how busy I’ve felt. The funny part is, the people back home picture me lazing around on the beach all day, sipping frozen drinks and listening to reggae while I get a massage! Nobody seems to understand that “life” is just as real here as it is at home. About the only difference is that I’m not punching a clock while here, which has the drawback of not having money coming in either.
On the flip side, I have to admit that although I’ve had some tough mornings, I’ve also allowed myself some wonderful afternoons at the beach, at least the beach that’s still here after some really tough storms. I’ve been making certain that I wander down to the ocean every afternoon at some point. The long walks help to remind me why I’m here and help me sort out the crowded ideas in my head. Catching the colorful sunsets soothes my soul.
Because it’s the “slow season” here as far as tourism is concerned, I’ve usually got the 1/3 mile long stretch of sand entirely to myself. I’ve discovered that it’s a great place to put in my earbuds and sing out loud to my heart’s content without fearing someone will come running to see what poor cat is being tortured.
Most evenings have been spent quietly reading or researching online, having no TV to sit mindlessly in front of, but I did go to a get-together the other night at a friend’s place on the beach. It was an enjoyable mixture of Jamaican’s and expats, children and adults, music, laughter, food, drink and interesting conversation. I baked a bunch of goodies and some raisin rum bars to take along and got some really encouraging feedback.
People are really getting excited about my proposed bakery down here and I’m going with the same theory I used to build my previous goat cheese business, taking every opportunity to let people sample the products. It’s like crack…the first hit is free and then I’ve got you! I’m not certain when exactly it will become a reality. Per usual, things have gotten complicated. But we are still pushing forward and hoping to get it rolling sooner rather than too much later.
I’ve also taken the time to delve deeper into the friendships I have here. It’s easy to look at the differences between me and many people that I’ve met. Our upbringings, our educations, our cultures and even our skin colors would seemingly set us apart but, instead, we have found that we have so much in common. It’s been so interesting for us to really get to know and understand each other. I feel so blessed.
The highlight of this trip will be sharing it all with my husband. He will come down to celebrate our 9th anniversary. I promised not to load him up with projects while he is here. Just one screen to build, and then it’s done. Well, maybe I’ll have him fix the screen door latch, and look at the water tank float…but, seriously, we plan to just walk the beach, sleep in, soak in the sun and chill out. I wonder how long it will take him to settle into the rhythm of Jamaica?